Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Choice of Equestrians?

The Book of Revelations (the last book in the Christian Bible) briefly mentions some Seals and four horsemen. In the original Greek, the first, on a White Horse, is never identified (my commentary says he is probably a Parthian, which was an old word for Iranian; so one suspects the author of the book felt he had been cheated by an Iranian, possibly in a card game or a real estate deal). The second, on a Red Horse is identified as War. The third, on a Black Horse, is a merchant who charges a day's wages for a kilo of wheat. The fourth, on a Pale Horse, is Death.

In the 19th Century, the New Revised Standard version came out with a new translation, and suggested the Four Horsemen might be Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death (it's not clear from the translation that's what the author or the translator really had in mind).

The Chapter in Revelations is Chapter 6, which is actually called the Chapter of Seals, but at the turn of the previous century, someone introduced the Four Horsemen as the title of the Chapter. And the name of the book used to be the transliteration of the original Greek name of the book, Apocalypse, so there were lots of English essays about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (there might have been essays in other languages, but I wouldn't know). The White Horseman was Pestilence, some kind of pandemic like the plague, the Red Horseman was War, the Black Horseman was Famine, and the Pale Horseman was Death. Except for the Red Horseman and the Pale Horseman, this doesn't match the Bible, but it will do.

Back in the '30s, someone wrote a novella, Pale Horse, Pale Rider about the Flu Epidemic of 1918-1919, a book that might be relevant again with CoViD19 (although that was about the White Horseman and the flu pandemic).

Now it looks like we have a choice between the White Horseman and the Red Horseman. As it says in the Bible, 'Sufficient unto the Day...'.

The White Horseman

The new virus, CoViD19, spreads rapidly. Everyone who has it passes it on to about 3 others on average. The only good news is that the rate of increase peaked at 70% in China and is now down to 8% in China, and about 5% outside of China.

Inside China, it's killed 2.5% of those diagnosed with the virus by a real time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test. Part of this (the Chinese say) is that 75% recover without medical intervention, all that's needed is to isolate them for 4 to 6 weeks. But 25% die without an ICU, and China is overwhelmed, so most of those who died lacked access to an ICU.

Outside China, only one died, and that was in the Philippines, so it's not clear how good the ICU was. About 525 cases outside China, and only 1 death, so a fatality rate of 0.2%, but it's still spreading rapidly, and if it spreads to just about everyone, only a very few will have access to an ICU, and the fatality rate will rise to 2.5% or more (since most of the world lacks China's resources for fighting epidemics: the Chinese can build 1,000-bed hospitals in just 10 days, and can send 10,000 doctors and nurses to regions with a high infection rate to help out until the disease is under control).

The other 'good news' is that China only counts those diagnosed with that real time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test that identifies the virus, and many with mild cases who never report to the health authorities are undercounted, so the real fatality rate in China is somewhere between 0.2% and 2.5%, with no idea what it really is. A fatality rate of 0.2% is the same as the flu that breaks out every year, and next year, CoViD19 will be in every flu shot worldwide. But it's spreading rapidly, and we might not have a year.

The Red Horseman

Then we have the Thucydides TrapThucydides was a Greek historian who wrote about the war between Athens and Sparta, about a hegemon seeing a rising power who feel they are compelled to go to war with the rising power to stop the rise. There have been many, many Thucydides Trap wars, and another one, resulting in WWIII, is looking more and more likely.

The Powers that Be in the US figure it's getting long past time for WWIII. The US is tearing up all the antinuke treaties it signed back when it knew the USSR had MAD. Today, the 'experts' say no one has MAD any more, the US can totally destroy any other nation without the slightest threat that they can retaliate, because the US military is so much more advanced than anyone else, but that won't last much longer, so the sooner we nuke Russia and China and the DPRK (and Iran prophylactically), the better. There is no proof that Russia interfered in the last election, but the establishment media all agree it's irrefutably proven that they did. They also say that, fortunately, all Putin's nukes are just Photoshop, but we need to strike now before he gets any real ones, and China is still a backward country that might become advanced if we don't do something now.

The plan is that Russia and China know they do not have MAD, so, when ordered to hand control over to the US, both will meekly comply. The US appointed administrators will break up both Russia and China into a bunch  of small, unarmed, powerless states who will never be able to threaten the US.

Sadly, Russia and China still have MAD, would much, much rather not have to use it, but will if forced. 

The establishment media all agree that the Mueller report proved that Russia stole the election and Trump helped. The report does say Russia stole the election, but that there was no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump helped. The media agree that proof beyond a reasonable doubt is an unbelievably high standard of proof, and there is more than enough proof to convince a civil jury if not a criminal jury, and Mueller was probably being polite, when he really had more than enough evidence to convince an honest criminal jury of #NeverTrumps (and everyone who isn't a #NeverTrump is obviously not honest).

Mueller's 'proof' that Russia was guilty was page after page of computer code. Since computer code is as readable as Russian or Chinese to most Americans, they are convinced that Russia was guilty and must be punished. The code actually proves nothing at all, but it's impossible to convince the 50% of American voters who are rabid #NeverTrumps that the code doesn't say 'RUSSIA DID IT!!!'

Democrats and Republicans disagree about some minor stuff, but not about the importance of the US spreading democracy* to the entire world.

*Democracy - a government that does what the US tells them and hands over all the country's natural resources to US corporations in exchange for a little baksheesh for the 1% and nothing at all for the 99%.

Net: I have no idea if it'll be the Red Horseman or the White Horseman. Both seem far too likely. Heck, maybe we'll have both working together to wipe us all out and solve the problem of climate change. And with all the disruption, maybe the Black Horseman will join them, and the Pale Horseman will have more work cut out for him than he's ever had before.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Death of a General

General Soleimani flew from Iran to Baghdad on a scheduled flight to meet the Iraqi prime minister, something Trump had encouraged him to do, making the drone strike very easy.

The General was a terrible enemy of the US, having been responsible for killing thousands of members of the best US ally in the region.

In 2009, Camp Bucca was emptied. The prisoners were given a chance to swear an oath to go to Syria, overthrow the evil elected dictator, and never return to Iraq, and all those who did were released, given money and weapons, and shipped to Syria, where no one heard much  about them until 2011, when they began demanding the removal of the elected dictator. Then, in 2014, they noted that an oath not to cross a fake line drawn by the infidels Sykes and Picot was not binding, and they came back into Iraq, where Obama bombed and killed a very few of them, so they made several very popular and well-viewed YouTube videos with American and British stars.

The peaceful, pro-democracy freedom fighters call themselves IS, the West call them ISIS or ISIL, and Arabs call them Daesh. And the evil General Soleimani kept killing them, and has made it very difficult for them to liberate Syria from the evil dictator and fly their dignified Black Flag over Syria and Lebanon, as the US fervently hopes they will be able to do very soon now that the General who was stopping them has been removed on Trump's orders.

The US fervently hopes that their Black Flag will fly over the Levant and Iran, and maybe Pakistan and Afghanistan, but has said it can never fly over Iraq, because Iraq has too much oil, all of which belongs to the US, so no need to pay Iraqis for oil they do not own, and ISIL has a nasty habit of taxing the places it controls, so it can never have Iraq. But the US will support them strongly to gain full control of the Levant and Iran, which should be very easy now that the US has removed the evil General Soleimani who was the main person stopping ISIL from completing the goals the US set them.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Impeachment 2

It looks very much like Trump will be the very first US president to be Impeached but not acquitted. This does not mean he'll be found guilty: the Republicans in the Senate all appear that, like all the Republicans in the House, they will vote to acquit, and, knowing this, and not wanting Trump to be able to say he was acquitted, the Impeachment will not be given to the Senate, and the Senate cannot vote on the Articles of Impeachment until they are given them by the House. The House has passed two Articles, so Trump is impeached, but if the Articles are not formally handed to the Senate, they cannot try Trump and acquit him, and that's what Speaker Pelosi seems to have decided is best.
This impeachment is different from the two times the Congress considered impeachment in the 20th century. First, there was a burglary of the Democratic National Convention Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in 1972 that was ordered by the Committee to Reelect the President, or CREEP as it was called. The burglary was reported then ignored in '72, but then the US discovered that Nixon might have ordered the burglary, or might have found out it was CREEP that ordered and paid for it and then failed to report the people responsible for hiring the actual burglars, and this led to an Impeachment Investigation by the House. They discovered that Nixon taped every single word said in the Oval Office, and demanded the tape. Nixon refused, and took the Congressional subpoena to court. He was ordered to hand the tape over, appealed, and it finally ended up in the Supreme Court who ordered Nixon to hand the tape over, so he did. Sort of. 18 minutes were missing.
Eventually, a group of Republicans went to meet with Nixon, told him they could not vote against Impeachment and Conviction, and suggested it would be best to resign, and Nixon did.
In 1998, the intern Lewinsky had saved a blue dress she'd worn when she had sex with Clinton, who had said, under oath, that he had never had sex with her. The House Impeached Clinton just before the '98 Congressional election, and the Republicans lost heavily in that election, which is unusual, because it is usually the party in the White House that loses seats in the mid-term Congressional elections.  After the election, the Senate held a trial where a large majority of the Senators voted that Clinton was innocent as a new-born babe. Some say that, when he denied having sex with Lewinsky, he did it in such a way that it was not technically perjury. Other say that a gentleman never talks about what he has or has not done with a lady, so it is never perjury for a man to deny having had sex.with a woman.
In Nixon's case, everyone knew he was accused of being an accomplice to a burglary, and both Democrats and Republicans were ready to Impeach and convict. In Clinton's case, everyone agreed he'd had sex with Lewinsky and denied it under oath, but all the Democrat and many Republican Senators agreed that was not an offence.
In Trump's case, Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on anything, not what the charges are, not if they are Impeachable offences, nothing.
And the net result is that Trump will be the first president who was Impeached but not Acquitted!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Impeachment 1

Today, the House is expected to Impeach Trump. In some places, an 'impeachment' means the person impeached is forced out of office, but in American English, an impeachment is an indictment, and was originally intended to mean that the House has found probable cause that the office holder has committed High Crimes or Misdemeanours, after which the Senate must hold a trial where both sides present witnesses and where, after a thorough investigation, the Senate adjudges whether the office holder is guilty, and imposes some punishment (usually, removal from office, but the Constitution does not say that has to be the punishment, it could impose some lesser punishment), or that the office holder is not guilty, and so is acquitted and goes back to the duties of the office.

Assuming (and I do) that the House impeaches Trump today, or tomorrow, or Friday, the trial is planned for next year, and most Republicans say they'll vote to acquit. The Senate could just vote not to have a trial, and dismiss the case, but they're now saying most Senators will vote in favour of a trial so that they can declare that Trump is innocent as a new-born babe.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Much more news than when I was young

Growing up, my father took the Sunday New York Times, just for the magazine. The paper didn't arrive until Thursday, so the news was out of date, but the crossword was still one of the best crosswords in the US, and my father enjoyed solving it (with the help of some relatives). We also took a local morning and evening newspaper. Of course, when I was born, most people got their news from the CBS or NBC television network every night. It was on twice, early evening and late evening. Most Americans got the latest news from whichever of the two networks they preferred (I never noticed much difference) and the details in the morning and evening newspapers that had to be local (since the newsboys had to walk, bike, or drive the newspaper to your door, and newspapers from other places wouldn't arrive for four days). The newspapers were all independent, so there were lots of jobs for reporters, jobs that didn't pay much, but it was easy to find a job. And one could find newspapers intended just for Polish Republicans or just for Italian Democrats. There were newspapers whose business model was 'first with the facts' and newspapers with a business model 'tell the people what they want to see' or the business model 'tell them what I want them to think'. So, if one lived in a big city, one might be able to find a 'first with the facts' newspaper. No more.

Today, fewer than 7 huge conglomerates own all the major news outlets in the US. Almost all city newspapers are owned by one of the conglomerates, and the big national newspapers like the New York Times can be remotely printed and delivered to your doorstep the same day it gets delivered in New York city. So there are very few newspaper jobs, they pay better, but everyone must toe the owners' line if they want to keep their job. Facts are never allowed unless they fit the 'tell the people what they want to read' business model. The 'first with the facts' business model doesn't get enough clicks to be profitable.


Back in the day, we read what a great thing the US was doing for Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Libya, & etc, rescuing those people from a brutal dictator and drug smuggler who kept the nation mired in abject poverty and giving them a democratic, free, peaceful and prosperous paradise. No one dared contradict that story.


Back in the day, my father had a golfing buddy who was a ham, and he offered to let my mother call my grandmother. He put a lot of time and money into being a ham, with an antenna that he'd somehow managed to attach to the tops of all the trees in his yard, meters long so it would pick up the short wave signals. My mother took me to his place so I could say 'Hello,' to my grandmother. One time when we were there, the ham told me he could listen to the Soviet propaganda channel and hear what they said about the US.

'What do they say?' I asked.

My mother immediately said, 'We're only here to call your grandmother and leave. We don't have time for anything else,' and that was that.

Getting a short wave in the US is expensive and difficult, and I never managed it, but I did want to hear what the Soviets said about the US. I never will, of course, because the Soviets have been gone for 30 years.

But the Internet and satellite TV mean I can hear the official Chinese, Russian, Persian, Qatari, French, and British propaganda channels, in English, without getting a ham license (the official US propaganda channels are all in the languages of the people living in brutal dictatorships* who can't get the 'truth' from their own nation's TV or newspapers).

And the other nations' propaganda channels often have video that contradicts the story in the US news outlets. But every decent American (and the decent members of NATO) will tell you never to believe those channels, even if they have solid proof. Decent folks always accept the official American version without question.

*Brutal dictatorships - governments that do not do exactly what the US Deep State wants them to do

Monday, December 2, 2019


It now appears certain that Trump will be the 3rd US president to be impeached. The Democrats plan to impeach before Christmas as their Christmas present to themselves and all the other #NeverTrumps. But why?

Career civil servants have said that serving under Reagan, both Bushes, Clinton and Obama was about the same, but Trump is completely different. One might have erroneously believed that there was a huge golf between Reagan & the Bushes on one side and Clinton and Obama on the other.

The US is doing the exact same things under Trump as it did under Reagan, both Bushes, Clinton, and Obama, but, where they all read the speeches they were given, Trump tweets copious covfefe.

Obama, Deporter-in-Chief, who deported more Hispanics than any other president said repeatedly, 'We must treat Hispanics with dignity and respect, and I am only ordering the deportation of those convicted of the most heinous, violent crimes.' Obama lied about that. Trump did two things: he promised to build an impregnable wall to keep any new Hispanics out of the US and to deport all those already in the US without papers, and he pointed out that Obama and Clinton lied when they gave their great speeches about treating Hispanics with dignity and respect, Bill and Obama both worked as hard as they could to get rid of Hispanics. Bill didn't deport as many as Obama, but he had many more Hispanics 'removed' than Obama deported. A 'removal' means there's no trial and a judge to order a legal deportation, just put them on a plane leaving the US. And when Hispanics checked and found out Trump was telling the truth, those who had raced to the polls to vote for Bill Clinton and Obama stayed home, since it wouldn't really matter whom they voted for. But still, many believe Obama. I've read Trumpeters convinced that Obama didn't deport a single Hispanic (in spite of the Federal records--it wasn't in the establishment media at all, they lied that Obama was telling the truth, but the Federal records have the number of deportations going back 50 years, and Obama is by far on top). Many Trumpeters believe the lie that Obama not only didn't deport a single Hispanic, he gave them all multiple voter ID cards and said they could stay as long as they voted Democrat early and often.

The same is true of climate change. The US desperately needs to do all it can to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Obama gave speech after speech against anthropomorphic global warming (AGW), but worked hard to double US fossil fuel production, a greater increase than any president I can recall. Trump says he thinks AGW is a hoax to hurt the US fossil fuel industries. Same actions, different words. Trump may or may not believe AGW is a hoax, but he wants the fossil fuel owners and workers to vote for him, and his actions match his very ill-informed, incorrect words, while Obama was obviously lying through his teeth, did more to expand the fossil fuel industry than Trump (of course, Obamabots are convinced Obama fossil fuels, when they burn, don't produce any carbon dioxide, they consume it and reduce the total carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and fight AGW).

The US president is expected to give speech after speech about spreading freedom and democracy, as Trump's predecessors did. Of course US 'freedom and democracy' means having a government that does what the US wants, while a 'totalitarian dictatorship' is any government that doesn't. And Obama started two new shooting wars--Libya and Syria--to 'spread freedom and democracy', and he also sent money and weapons in support of the anti-Russian coup in the Ukraine. Under Trump, all the wars he inherited have increased in intensity, but he hasn't started any new shooting wars. Yet. Only trade wars and sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, and he supported the coup in Bolivia.

But Trump has ordered all the troops out of Syria. Three times. The first time, they told him never to do that again, it's not on the table. The second time, his Secretary of Defence resigned in disgust. The third time, they told Trump Syria was not about spreading freedom and democracy, it was about stealing all the oil, and Trump said, 'I'm OK with that. Keep those troops there and keep that oil flowing and all the money going into US hands.' (And I heard Bashar al-Assad say Trump is the best US president he's known in his life, since all the other lied, while Trump tweets the truth.)

Net: Trump is terrible, he's still doing all the same horrible things that Reagan, both Bushes, Clinton and Obama did, but instead of reading the prepared speeches about how the US is the world leader in fighting AGW and repression and dictatorships and in spreading freedom, democracy, peace and prosperity as he should, he's getting impeached for tweeting covfefe instead.

Thursday, November 28, 2019


Hank was my best friend in secondary school, and we spent a lot of time together. The summer I was 14 and Hank was 15, he was old enough to work, but no more than 4 hours a day and no more than 20 hours a week, so he took a job as busboy at the Nighthawk Steak House on Highway 79.

After he started, I didn't see him for several weeks. Finally, he called on Saturday we got together and I asked where he'd been. He said a college student had come in for lunch his first day and had told him she was doing a research paper on small town America, and asked him to help. He showed her a boarding house where she could stay, she'd pick him up every morning and take him to work, saving his mum the bother, and she'd pick him up after work and they'd explore everything there was to see about our little village and the surrounding villages, how people lived in small town America.

She'd gone home to visit her parents for the weekend, so Hank was free to see me after his shift at the Night Hawk. Hank asked me if I'd heard the nasty rumours, but Hank was always my source for rumours, I didn't know anyone else who'd share rumours with me. Hank said they were saying he was not showing the college student small town America, but only the bed in her room at the boarding house, and the rumours were completely false. I believed Hank, since he was my best friend.

That fall, Hank had to quit his job as busboy to go back to school. Every teacher asked a student to help tidy up his or her home room after school, and the chemistry teacher asked me, and the new art teacher asked Hank. Hank was quite a good artist, and was taking the advanced art class, something I avoided like the plague, having no affinity for art at all. The new teacher had just gotten her license, after the course in art and teaching art at a teacher's college and a year as a supervised teacher.

Again, Hank asked me if I'd heard the rumours, and again I said 'No,' It seems most were saying Hank was cleaning other things than the art teacher's home room. Hank said not to believe the rumours, and so I didn't.

The next year, Hank and I went out regularly into the woods where we'd build a fire and roast hot dogs. My sister asked if she could tag along, and we said, 'Sure.' I got the job of tending the fire, and Hank and my sister went to get more wood. When they came back, my sister's trousers were on inside out. She said nature had called, she'd taken off her trousers as females are wont to do, and, since it was getting dark, she'd put them on backwards. I believed her, but suggested she go put them on right side out.


We graduated secondary school, and after several years of going to different universities, quitting to work for awhile, and then going back to other universities, Hank and I ended up at the same university for a year, and we shared a 2 bedroom flat. Hank was between wives.

And then I saw that women queued up to have sex with Hank. One was in the bedroom being serviced, and one was waiting in the front hall watching TV with me. I was curious. 'I thought women all wanted a man who was just hers, who never looked at another woman. Yet here's Hank, with many women. What gives?'

She said, 'If I caught my husband looking at another woman, I'd divorce him the same day, but Hank is different. He's the only man in this town worth having sex with. Every woman in this town desperately needs to have sex with Hank. I couldn't go on if I didn't have Hank once a month.'

I asked, 'What makes Hank so attractive?'

'Hank? Attractive? Hank is not at all attractive. You're much more attractive than Hank. But I don't like sex with attractive men, I only like sex with Hank. The only drawback is that tonight, I have to have sex with my husband just in case I get pregnant. I hate sex with my husband, because he just doesn't have what Hank has. But I'll do it, because I have to.'

Hank and the other woman finished, she left, and the woman (who wouldn't tell me her name) went into Hank's bedroom.

It was a few weeks after that that I needed a book. I called Hank, who was in his office on campus (this was long before cell phones) and he said it was in his bedroom and I could go in and get it. So I went into Hank's bedroom for the first time and saw box after box after box filled with women's unmentionables. All different sizes, shapes, colours, materials. Some large, going from the knees to the navel, others barely covering anything, but all used, not clean ones stolen from a clothesline (a hobby with some college boys, for reasons that escape me, but Hank didn't need to steal any, he was given them in payment for his service).

I still figure Hank was telling the truth, that it wasn't the college student's bed in the boarding house, because they had a rule that, if a man was in a woman's room, she had to leave the door open. But there were lots of abandoned farms, many with abandoned beds, and the woods had lots of leaves one could gather to form a bed.

And I figure Hank and the new teacher found some place private, not her home room. I'm not sure how far my sister went with Hank, maybe just petting.

Hank got divorced. Twice. Women told him he was not attractive, so he figured all women always want sex and do it with whatever man is available, so he figured his first two wives were cheating on him. By that year we roomed in the same flat, he knew he was somehow different. He asked some of the women if I could help out, since there were so many that sex was not a pleasure for Hank, but a chore, but they all said, 'Absolutely not!'

One time, Hank said he'd had four, and was with number five, but he was tired. All the men he knew spoke of taking a woman out to an expensive restaurant and hoping for some kissing afterwards, but the women mostly said, 'We don't feel like kissing now, let's just talk.' So they talked for however long the woman figured she owed the man for the expensive dinner.

Hank asked the woman if they could just talk.

She answered, 'I have to pick up the kids from school, buy groceries, and fix dinner for my husband and the kids before he gets home. I don't have time to talk. I need great sex, and I need it NOW!'

And Hank said it was difficult, but he managed.

Hank didn't know why all the women in the village where we were going to university wanted him and no one else, and when he asked, they couldn't explain, but they had to have Hank.

I've met a very few more like Hank. One was Chris, and all the women where we worked were desperate to have sex with Chris, and no one else. But no one seems to know what it is that those men have. I figure about one man in 200 has it, whatever it is. And all the women want it, whatever it is.

The 199 men out of 200 who don't have it wish they could get it, and I've seen people offering to sell it, but Hank tried, and all the women desperate to have sex with Hank said there was no way they could possibly have sex with someone who looked like me, no matter what I said or what I did. Not even if Hank begged them because he was too tired, they just couldn't.

So, when I see the ads, 'Do this and you'll be irresistible to women. Send us $50 for the secret,' I know it wouldn't help to send them the $50. I'm still tempted, but after long talks with Hank (may he rest in peace), I know nothing is going to give me the je ne sais quoi that Hank had.